U.S. Commuting at Highest Since Last March as Covid Cases Slow

Commutes are slowly returning to normal as states reopen their economies after the pandemic’s upheaval. The increase in trips to work poses a risk of infection even as case counts fall.

In the last week of February, the average number of visits to U.S. places of work hit the highest level since March 20 of last year, according to Google Community Mobility Reports data. At the same time, the rate at which people are staying home fell to the lowest since Nov. 12.

To calculate the figures, Google compares visits and lengths of stay at different locations against a prepandemic baseline, using anonymized location history data from users. That baseline is represented by zero in the chart below.

U.S. Commuting at Highest Since Last March as Covid Cases Slow

Recovery in commuting habits presents a growing opportunity for infections to spread, even as daily cases hover around four-month lows. Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate and other anti-pandemic restrictions Tuesday, allowing businesses to open at full capacity effective March 10.

The U.S. posted 54,248 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the seven-day average to 64,433. Cumulatively, there have been at least 517,006 Covid deaths in the U.S, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

According to Covid Tracking Project data:

  • New York has the most people hospitalized per capita with the virus, at 276 per million.
  • When compared with the prior week, the average number of cases was falling or flat in 40 states.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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